Adult ChildrenAdult Children Often View Aging Parents as Being Younger

Adult children are often the first responders to the needs of elder parents. No matter how we mature, emotionally we often still react as we did about things many years earlier. Often the elderly parents want to maintain the veneer of total independence even when sons and daughters are helping out in some way. This can be as benign as stopping by or calling and checking in, picking up groceries, managing bill payments to much more involved care, especially when illness or disability are involved.

Starting a Conversation with your Adult Children

Families are unique, complicated, loving, interdependent, intense, well-meaning, abusive and complex on many levels. Still, they are our blood relatives and we usually go through life together. Communication can be difficult especially in stressful situations. Assuming, for the most part, most adult children care about their parents and vice versa. Here are some good openers to let adult children know how you feel and where you are at now in your life.

  • I did my best, with what I knew
  • Some of my regrets are…
  • I am proud of you for…
  • A phone call or card means a lot to me, more than a text.
  • As I get older some things which used to be easy are harder for me now.
  • I may not think or move as quickly as i used to.
  • I feel good when you ask my opinion.
  • We may disagree but I still deserve respect.
  • Special occasions and anniversaries still mean a lot to me.
  • I am happy I have a new partner in my life, please try to accept them.
  • When I am nosy or overstepping, please let me know in a kind way.
  • You may have pressure to be with in-laws, let’s try to work out a schedule for all of us.
  • I still worry about you when I don’t hear from you, a quick call makes a big diffeence.
  • I know you are very busy. I enjoy hearing about what you are doing.
  • Tell me how I can make your life easier where I am concerned.

Realizing some of these comments or sentiments may not fit you or your children, some of them are still helpful. We often need just to hear things to feel better. When there is hostility, depression, denial or dementia, some of thest statements do not apply or would be reworded. Ideally, adult children and aging parents want the best for each other. Sometimes, professional intervention is needed. The attempt goes a long way.  It is important for both parties to hear each other and to be honest in order to make progress.